Thursday, April 30, 2009

Catch you on the flip side...

Good news for the Loving family. We're actually sneaking off for a few days on a spur of the moment beach mini-vacation. I can't remember the last time we had a break like this.

And though I could sneak away to the free coffee shop wi-fi on this break to blog a couple posts and maintain some continuity here in the Land of Lovings I've decided to really take off these few days and have nothing more pressing than cuddling my babies.

So, I'll catch you guys next week. I promise to be back on Tuesday rested, relaxed, sunburned and full of great new content.

See you soon!

You changed me.

5 years ago I cradled you in my arms for the first time. I looked into your eyes. Kissed your precious face. And became a mother for the first time.

I love you, my precious baby girl. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Total Truth Tuesday: Top 5 TV Confessions

I'm tired. Our little guy was up all night and while I should have used that time to blog a Total Truth Tuesday post it turns out it is harder than you might think to be witty and creative and truthful with a ferocious baby nursing for 2 hours straight. (Which is another post all on it's own and is becoming a problem. I'll be posting for advice on that later.)

Anyways, that said I still wanted to post my TTT post today. And so I'm going to do it quick and dirty style. With a list.

So, here you have it. Total Truth Tuesday. My top 5 TV Confessions. And for the record, I'm ashamed of each and every one of them.

1. I have a Season Pass on my Tivo for every single incarnation of the Real Housewives shows on Bravo.

2. The longest saved show on my Tivo is "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton." I originally recorded it November 29th, 2006. I keep it saved because apparently I'm actually a 13-year-old girl. It helps me sleep at night.

3. I recently considered getting the Comcast DVR for the family room (our Tivo is in the bedroom) so I could record twice as many shows. Then I realized no one actually gets smarter and more productive by adding to the amount of hours they watch TV.

4. I would rather become a vegan vegetarian than give up my cable. Which, I am aware, is probably proof I need to give up cable.

5. Millionaire Matchmaker. Need I say more?

So, enough about me, what are your deepest darkest TV confessions?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why I broke up with BlogHer.

A few months ago I got an email saying a spot had opened up in the BlogHer ad network and since I was on the waiting list I got a chance to be a part of it.

I was pretty darn excited. See, when I started blogging it was to keep family that was far away in the loop on what was going on in our lives. Then a funny thing happened. It saved my sanity. I started to feel less like a prisoner of my children and more like the aspiring writer I promised myself I'd become when I graduated college.

And then I found out the most amazing thing. People actually make money blogging! **gasp**

So, I was pretty excited about signing up with BlogHer.

As with any partnership there are rules and guidelines. I gladly accepted them. After all, I was getting paid to blog! Hurray!

Then I got my first ad revenue check. And my second. I was getting $60-$70 a month in ad revenue. I was pretty darn happy considering before this I had been blogging about my public humiliation for free.

But, one day I got an email from BlogHer. They had, apparently, been overpaying me. By a lot. And, my actual monthly revenue? It was more like $6-$7 dollars a month.

And since numbers can't be typed in all caps, let me phrase my reaction like this:


It occurred to me that in order to adhere to their rules I had to turn down giveaways worth more than I'd made in the last 4 months with them. And it also occurred to me that I had given up some control of my blog (albeit only a small amount) for 6-freaking-dollars a month.

And, so we broke up. Which is why there aren't any ads on the side anymore. And I can blog as often or as little as I like now. And I can giveaway anything I want. Or not.

Now if only I can avoid drunk dialing this ex in the middle of the night...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One for the suggestion box.

Dear God-

I'm not trying to tell you how to handle your business. I know you've got it covered.

But, I thought I'd mention something for you to consider. You know, in case you decide to do this whole creation/humanity thing again somewhere else.

I was thinking the other day that since it takes two people to make a baby, that maybe it should take two people to do other things for the baby. Like, you know, feed the baby.

I get that only one person can carry a baby in their body. And, to be honest, I'm pretty thrilled that I get to be the one to do it. And, even though I might complain sometimes, I really do love that I get to provide nourishment for this life that grew inside of me.

But, I'm worried for my husband. I think he's feeling a bit left out. I can tell from the sounds of his snoring at 3 am that he is feeling like he's missing out on something when I get to wake up every 3-4 hours to feed the baby. He's pretending to enjoy the hours and hours and hours of deep satisfying sleep, but let's get real. It's a ruse. He wants to be a part of feeding the baby. And, I think he (and most men) would be much, much happier if they could also provide food and nourishment for their newborn child. Not to mention, they'd relish the opportunity to have deep personal knowledge of breast pads, nipple shields, and all the other accessories that accompany such endeavors.

I'm not quite sure exactly how this would work. I realize the current model might require some modifications. I'll leave the details up to you. But, I just thought I'd mention it for any future projects you might have up your sleeve. After all, no one should be forced to sleep a deep and restful sleep all night every single night of the week. It's just inhumane.

I'm pretty sure my husband would agree.

Yours Truly-


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tunnel Vision

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ivy-lish: Diaper Business

Ivy is kind of fascinated with her brother. She's trying to figure out this whole "new baby" thing we've got going on and nothing is more confusing to her than what is going on inside Trav's diaper.

No matter how many times I explain it she is completely unwilling to acknowledge that his "boy parts" are something that are actually supposed to be there.

Which is why every time I change his diaper, our dialog goes a little something like this:

Ivy: "Ewwww, what's that??"

Me: "Honey, that is Traveler's bottom. Remember what I said? He's different than you because he is a boy."

Ivy: "Oh yeah!'s yucky. Wipe it off."

Me: "No, honey, I can't wipe it off. It has to stay there, remember?"

Ivy, laughing: "Oooohhh. I see. Okay. Now wipe it off! It's gross."

And round and round we go. I guess I'd be happy if I could just get her to stop calling Trav "she" and "her." Poor guy. Isn't this how Hemingway ended up the way he did?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parenting hurts.

I am not remotely ready to handle certain aspects of parenthood.

I'm not ready to think about letting my kids out into the world on their own where I can't protect them from all the scary bad guys.

I'm not ready to watch them realize the world is often unfair and unjust.

And, as I discovered yesterday, I am nowhere near ready to watch them fumble through awkward social encounters with kids who will try to wreck their self-esteem.

It simply hurts too much to see it happen.

Yesterday we were at a video shoot for a local ministry. They needed some kids to be in the video and my girls were invited. It was a fun experience for them and everything went well until Kai discovered the "big" girls who were also part of the shoot. And like any little girl, she just loves big girls and wants so badly to be around them.

The scene that unfolded as a result broke my heart. They girls couldn't have been older than 10 or so, but to Kai they were practically grown-ups.

Kai enthusiastically approached the bigger girls and tried to get them to notice her.

"Hey! Do you like my outfit. It's my Nina's outfit. Well, not my Nina's outfit, but she gave it to me. I mean, she bought it and had it at her house and then she helped me get dressed today. So, anyways, do you like it?"

The girls only response? They rolled their eyes and started laughing at her. And Kai covered her face with her hands and walked away.

At which point a part of my heart broke away.

Honestly, my face got hot and my eyes teared up and for the first time I realized that I would never be able to protect her from feeling small or silly or unwanted in a social setting. I've always known that there are mean girls out there who will hurt her feelings or belittle her and that no matter how fiercely I want to protect her it will be impossible. That was my elementary school & middle school experience every single day. But to see it happen to my little girl right in front of me and to be powerless to do anything about it nearly did me in. Especially while I'm high (or low) on post-partum hormones.

Luckily I was able to soothe her heart and build her back up in time to send her back out to play with the other, smaller kids. But that was this time. What about next time? How will I protect her from mean kids? How will I prevent these types of things from crushing the beautiful vibrant spirit she has and that she tries to share with everyone she meets?

It hurts to know that this is part of growing up. And that it won't be the last time I have to see her hurt because of a mean kid. But, I'm hoping (and praying) that God will give me the wisdom and sensitivity to handle these occasions with a spirit that will turn these into experiences that make her a stronger more compassionate child.

How have you handled bully problems with your kids? Have you had to deal with physical and/or emotional bullies? How do you make sure your child walks away stronger than before?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caption Please.

This may be my favorite baby picture of any of my kids. His expression cracks me up!

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Total Truth Tuesday - I may be addicted.

When Thomas and I got married we agreed that we wanted 3 kids. We didn't care if we had three boys or three girls. But three was the magic number.

And now we have three. Three precious wonderful magical kids. And when I'm holding them on my lap or snuggling under a blanket with them and watching movies I think to myself, "I could totally do this again."

I know that without hesitation we will. 'Cause we're not done.

Meagan wrote a great post the other day over at Larger Families where she asked the question of how you know when you're done. And it's something I wonder about all the time. While I was pregnant my doctor must have asked me a dozen times if I wanted to tie my tubes. I never wavered, but she continued to ask. Even in the operating room the nurse asked me to confirm whether or not I wanted my tubes tied. To be honest, it felt a bit like they were all waiting for me to come to my senses. Maybe they were.

The first night we were home with Trav I considered whether or not I could be done and satisfied with the size family we have. I remember thinking that our family just didn't feel finished. I think the answer is different for every single family. And I think it's something everyone has to determine by their own standards. But, the problem is I wonder how I'll know when we are done. Is it something you just magically know?

I'm know not one of those people who's called to have a Duggar-sized family. I don't judge supersized families, but I'm simply not organized and structured enough to manage a classroom that size let alone a family that big. But, three just feels incomplete. Three feels like someone is missing.

So, at the risk of getting comments like, "Don't you know what causes that?" or (my favorite from this last pregnancy) "Don't you realize there is population crisis?" - I know we'll do this at least one more time. Though don't be expecting an announcement anytime soon. I'm gonna enjoy being in a non-pregnant state for quite a while.

Until then, I'm gonna cuddle my new little man and enjoy the fun (and drama) of my two girls. And hope that someday in the future we'll get the chance to live this baby bliss all over again.

What about you? How did you know when you were done? Was the number different than you had planned for yourself?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things I've had to say...

Barbies are not pogo sticks.

Please take your sister off the leash.

No, picking your nose with your toes is not a neat trick.

Take that fly swatter out of your mouth.

(Don't worry it was a brand new never used fly swatter, but still...)

What's the weirdest thing you've had to say this week?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Photos that should be left out of the baby book.

Dear Traveler,

Um...yeah. This is your dad preparing for your arrival in the hospital. Lesson to be learned from this? Never leave him alone with your camera on important and solemn occasions.



For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: Motherhood is Gross.

Okay, let me clarify. Motherhood is beautiful and special and filled with moments of pure poetry. It is hands down my favorite and most fulfilling job. But, it's also kind of a dirty job.

Case in point:

Last week Thomas came home to a wife who was a hot mess. For realz. The conversation went like this--

Thomas: "Hey. You look like I feel."

Me: "I have a riddle for you. What do chocolate milk, orange juice, dog hair, baby poop, and breast milk all have in common?"

Thomas: " I want to know the answer to this?"

Me: "They are all living somewhere on this shirt. Glad you're home. I'm going to take a shower."


See what I mean? Motherhood is gross. There is no getting around it. And when you're a mom you do things you would have cringed at before you became a mother. Things like wipe noses with your bare hands, lick your fingers and wipe dirt/food/boogers off someone's face, lift someone up and smell their butt just to see if you need to change their diaper, etc. I know this because I am guilty of doing things that don't even occur to me as being gross until I see my husband (or sister's or random stranger's) face cringe in horror and disgust.

For instance, if you asked me would I ever chew another person's fingernails the answer would be a resounding NO! But, on more than one occasion Thomas has caught me biting off the teensiest tinsiest bit of our newborn's paper thin nails since I can't really cut them with a clipper and I don't want him to scratch his face. Yes, I chewed my son's nails. I also did this for each of my daughters. I'm gross.

I've heard tales of women who can't get a nasal aspirator to work and actually suck the snot out of their baby's nose to help them breathe. With. their. mouths. I've never actually done that. Though I will say that once on vacation when Kai was struggling to breath and I was freaking out I did give it a try. Thankfully for both of us (and those of you still reading) I failed at it and have no details of that experience to give. But, the truth is I was desperate enough to try.

I guess when you love someone enough you'll do anything for them. I guess things don't seem as gross when they belong to someone who depends on you to sustain their life. And sometimes you find yourself willing to do things that would have seemed horrible in another life.

Still, I do love my husband an awful lot and I'd be hard pressed to think of any situation where I would ever bite his nails for him. I'm just sayin'...

Okay. So tell me I'm not completely alone in this. What is the grossest thing you've done as a mom?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Progress Report.

As of today I've been home and on my own one full week with 2 preschoolers and an infant. And, I thought I'd just jot down a few notes about what is has been like to be home with three little ones on my own.

In a word? Delicate.

It has been a delicate balance of all my jobs. It has been a week of nurturing a delicate newborn and then there is the situation of my very delicate and recovering incision. I've had to handle my girls with more care than before so they don't feel left out and replaced. I've had to make things work largely by myself since Thomas' job took a crazy turn this week and demanded the longest hours he's worked since starting there 2 years ago. Talk about bad timing.

But, I've also had to be vigilant about my somewhat delicate mental state as well. See, with Kai I had no trouble transitioning back into "normal" mode. With Ivy, on the other hand, I had a pretty bad case of baby blues. I didn't realize it until I had my 4 week Doctor's appointment, but it turns out I had more than a little Post-Partum Depression. Like, can't get out of bed or off the couch or out from under the covers bad. And I knew that this time it was a distinct possibility. I know it still is.

So this week I've avoided playing the blame game with myself. When Trav's diaper leaked because I didn't realize it was full, I avoided calling myself a bad mom. When the girls ate a bit too much junk food (I can neither confirm nor deny that they ate Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs for breakfast one morning) or watched a Max & Ruby marathon so I could nurse the baby in relative peace, I forgave myself for not coming up with something better. Because guilt does not help things at all.

Do I need to do better when it comes to entertaining and feeding and balancing everything? Definitely. Do I wish I could have been SuperMom right out of the gate? Totally. Am I planning on doing a great job when I recover a bit more from this surgery? Yes! But, I'm not going to beat myself up over being lazy last week. Or even this week.

'Cause I'm doing the best I can. And even though this week everyone may not be getting their food pyramid needs met, their educational needs fulfilled, or even - you know - dressed in something other than pajamas, they are getting hugs and plenty of cuddly mommy time. And, after all, isn't that what really matters right now?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to you. You are such an old lady. (Okay, not really.)

Forgive me a moment while I take care of some personal business here. I need to say something to my sister who is, incidentally, turning 28 today. For the record, she's officially in her late twenties now. (Did you hear that, Tara?)

My sister, who is 23 months younger than me, has always been my partner in crime. I see so much similarity to us in Kai and Ivy's relationship and I am so thankful that they have that. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a built in best friend (and, at times, worst enemy) and I love her so much.

So, happy birthday to my younger (though not so young anymore) sister. I love you!

So, about that name...

Okay, we kept it (mostly) a secret for months. And while it wasn't easy for me. It was even more difficult for Kai. (There were plenty of moments when she told people, "No matter what I can't tell you Traveler's name, okay?")

And it was as hippy as we promised, right? When everyone kept saying "it can't be as bad as Apple" I kept wondering if maybe they were going to take that back when they heard it. But, Traveler Oakes Kekoa Loving it is. And the more I look at this little boy the more it seems to fit.

So, where did it come from? And why on Earth did we choose that name?

Well, I should start by saying that none of our kids have "normal" names. That's my fault, mostly. But once you start down the path of "different" names there is no going back for any of your kids.

One night when I was about 20 weeks pregnant, we were talking about names for the baby and Thomas said something about needing to find a good name for the little Traveler I was carrying. And something about the nickname struck us. It was a little Pilgrim's Progress, I admit, but there was something about it that just seemed to work.

If you ask Thomas, his official answer about what the name means to him is a more spiritual meaning. Something along the lines of Sojourner. He is a traveler in this world on a path that leads him to someplace bigger.

If you ask me, my official answer is that...well, I thought it sounded cool and kind of poetic. Yeah, I'm deep like that.

His middle name, Oakes, came about out of a bit of accidental tradition. Kai is actually our oldest daughter's middle name (her first name is Arema). And in Hawaiian, Kai means calm or gentle ocean. Ivy, obviously, has botanical origins. So, we had this nature theme going on in their names. And we thought we'd do the same with this baby. But, nature names for boys can be tricky. Particularly when you combine it with the hippy-tastic name Traveler. We wanted something strong and solid. Oakes was a character in a work of fiction Thomas has been working on and it really to fit the bill.

Finally, as a matter of Hawaiian tradition, all of our kids have a Hawaiian middle name. In the past, it has been a name chosen by Thomas' mom and given to our children as a blessing. But, since Thomas' mom was the only one in his immediate family who was actually Hawaiian and she passed away last year it was up to Thomas to take the job of picking the Hawaiian middle name for our son. And he chose Kekoa because it means "the brave one." It seemed a fitting "blessing" to give our son. I love it.

So, while we had some people questioning our choice of names (you know who you are and we love you anyways) the more we considered it the more we absolutely loved the name.

Yes, it is different. And we've gotten many strange looks since he's been born and we've told friends, relatives, and total strangers the name. But, it fits. It is him. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Intelius Neighborhood Watch

Intelius and BlogHer offered me the chance to review the Intelius Neighborhood Watch service. Come over to Land of Lovings Reviews to see what I thought about it!